Suspect Arraigned In South Wedge Murder
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The Rochester man arrested in connection with the shooting death of his nephew pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in city court this morning.
Police charged Vinh Dac Phan 54, with second degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon. In court paperwork, it states Phan shot his nephew, Ho Tai, 32, several times at close range in the chest, side, neck and leg. Tai was found inside his car just before 7 p.m. Saturday night on Veterans Place in the South Wedge. Tai's mother-in-law Thanh Nguyen believes the shooting is the result of an on-going custody battle over his son. After leaving Vietnam years ago the mother-in-law says Phan raised Tai's son.
YNN talked with neighbors in the South Wedge community about the incident.
"Really nice passive guy, good with the kids," says Bill York, Nguyen's neighbor.
Nguyen's neighbor says he has known Dac Phan for five years, even trusting him with his own children.
"He'd take them to the corner store, watch them out back or go to Chuck E. Cheese. It's just a total shock, just doesn't seem like something he would stoop to I guess, or fall into. I don't really know how to put it," says neighbor Bill York.
The victim's mother-in-law says after she and Dac Phan left Vietnam around six years ago, Dac Phan had raised Tai's eight year old son. York and Nguyen believe the growing animosity between Tai and his uncle over custody of the boy is what led to the shooting. A disagreement Dac Phan spoke with his neighbor about at length.
"Just how sad he was and how things were working out. I guess he felt he would bring everybody over and everyone would have a good life and I think he felt everyone took advantage of him I guess," says York.
Tai's son now lives with his grandmother on Veterans Place.
"She's a really nice lady, she keeps the parking lot clean, keeping an eye out on bad things that happen over there. It's just really sad," says York.
Neighbors tell us they believe this shooting was an isolated incident and out of character for the South Wedge neighborhood.
Phan is being held with no bail. Funeral arrangements for Ho Tai have not been made yet.